The Hightower Report: Paul Ryan Should Sit Down and Be Very Quiet

Entitlements? Social Security isn’t a welfare program

For nearly half a century now, America's middle-class working families have been pummeled by corporate greedmeisters and their political henchmen. Indeed, in just the last decade, the typical median-income family has lost 60% of their wealth. Haven't they been punished enough?

No, says House Speaker Paul Ryan. Along with other top Republican leaders in Con­gress, Ryan intends to slash the Social Security money that middle-class and low-income workers depend on, and he ultimately is out to kill it altogether. Dependence on such public "entitlements," he preaches, weakens our nation's morality.

Entitlements? Social Security isn't a welfare program – regular working people pay a 12% tax on every dime of their wages into the public pension fund year after year. They earn their retirement!

Morality? Social Security embodies Amer­ica's core moral value of fairness and our society's commitment to the common good. And it works – before it was enacted, half of all Americans spent their "golden years" in poverty. Social Security has saved the great majority of us from old-age penury. Where is the morality in taking this earned retirement and modicum of dignity from millions?

Besides, a sermon on the morality of entitlements should never come from a congress critter's mouth. Speaker Ryan himself wallows in a mud pit of congressional entitlements that working stiffs couldn't imagine getting: A $223,500 annual paycheck, free limousine and chauffeur, a maximum-coverage health plan, a tax-paid PR agent, lavish expense account, free travel … and, of course, a platinum-level congressional retirement program funded by the very taxpayers whose Social Security he's out to kill.

Yet Ryan wonders why Congress' public approval rating is plummeting toward single digits.

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Paul Ryan
Overturning Overtime
Overturning Overtime
Obama’s plan to fix overtime wage pay in America appears over before it could get started

Jack Craver, Dec. 9, 2016

How to Assemble Your Donald Trump Mask
How to Assemble Your Donald Trump Mask

Richard Whittaker, Oct. 28, 2016

More The Hightower Report
The Hightower Report
The Hightower Report
The Donald Show

Jim Hightower, July 10, 2015

The Hightower Report
The Hightower Report
The damning nuttiness of the GOP's "Hell No" faction

Jim Hightower, Aug. 15, 2014

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

social security, Paul Ryan

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle